Thursday, February 2, 2012

Going Against The Grain

I've been getting some interesting feedback about our decision to go grain and sugar-free. The most often asked question is, "What do you eat??"

I understand that question. I've always been a carbaterian. A year ago I wouldn't have dreamed that it was possible to live without grains. I was one of the original Bread Baking Babes! Bread was a source of delight, comfort, and joy. So how am I doing without sandwiches, toast, pancakes, or bagels? Pretty well, actually.

In the 80's I jumped on the low-fat bandwagon. Thinking that 30% or less of the daily calories should come from fat, I attempted to shoehorn my favorite recipes into that magic formula. The results for the most part were….well, for lack of a better word, gross. My family really deserved better. Taking out the butter left cookies gummy and flavorless. Removing oil from salad dressings made them overly sweet. In fact, the secret to manipulating the magic formula was just to add more sugar. That made the carb calories a greater percentage than the fat calories, so it was good for you. Right? Actually, no, the pay off for all that nasty food was that I got fatter.

With the current weird eating plan that we're doing we are eating quite well. I often wish that I was an awesome photographer who could grab my camera and get off several mouthwatering shots before we sit down to a meal. Then I'd have something to blog. But, alas, my family devours the meals before there's a chance to even get out the camera, let alone set up a nice backdrop and pretty props. But just so you know that we're not starving, here's a sample of things that have been on the menu in the past couple of weeks.

~ Eggplant Parmesan (surprisingly delicious. I was dubious about using eggplant, but it turned out wonderfully, packed with flavor.)

~ Crepes with Ham and cheese sauce  (yes, you can make grain-free crepes)

~ Bacon, Avocado, and Tomato Salad.  (my family loves this so much they fight over the leftovers the next day.)

~ Garlic Chicken with Artichoke Hearts ( quick, easy, and tasty)

~ Pizza with Cauliflower Crust ( smelled heavenly in the oven and tasted just as good)

~ Chicken Piccata  (an adaptation of one of my favorite chicken recipes)

As you can see, we're not starving. And, in case you were wondering, we're not all getting fat. But weight loss wasn't the motivation for doing this different way of eating. Mainly, my motivation is my son. He's been a hard-core sugar addict and I want to get his blood sugar levels evened out and see if that can help his behavior and cognitive abilities. He's a bright boy, but some days I wonder what the weather is like on the planet he inhabits, because it certainly isn't the same one I'm on.

So while I'll make occasional grain and/or sugar treats for the husband and other child, I don't allow them for my son. And I don't want him to be sad or resentful that everyone else gets treats. So I make these. Chocolate, nuts, cacao nibs, coconut oil, and cranberries make it a healthy treat. They're a wonderful small indulgence that doesn't break the rules (much) and it's totally worth it to have a happy boy who still gets to have dessert. 

As you read through the recipe and look at the pictures, you might be thinking that they don't match. Well spotted. The pictures I took from my first time making the bark, just as the recipe directed. Then I tinkered with the recipe and got it just the way we like it.

Chocolate Freezer Bark

3-1/2 oz. dark chocolate (70% cacao or above), coarsely chopped
1 cup coconut oil
handful of slivered almonds
handful of cacao nibs
handful of dried cranberries

1- Set a heatproof bowl over, not in, a pan of simmering water. Place the chocolate in the bowl and stir occasionally until the chocolate is melted and smooth.

2- Remove the bowl from the heat and place it on a towel. Scoop the coconut oil into the bowl and stir until the coconut oil is dissolved. Stir in the rest of the ingredients.

3- Using a small cookie scoop, divide the melted chocolate between 24 mini muffin wells. Make sure there's an equitable distribution of the goodies. Place the filled tin into the freezer. Let it chill until the chocolates are solid, about 2 hours. When chilled, remove the chocolates to a zip-loc bag and store in the freezer.  (I use a non-stick mini-muffin pan and the chilled chocolate pops out super easily.)

* If you'd like a recipe for any of the menu items I listed above, leave a comment to that effect. I will post the recipe that is most requested, possibly even with pictures! But no promises.  


Lindsey at NW Backyard Veggies said...

From a Therapist to you I say a big THANK YOU for looking at your sons diet as a possible source of his behavior, um, "differences".

We are what we eat. And behavior is a side effect of that eating. For all of us! Occasionally I'll tweak the diet of a client I see in conjunction with their doctor and the effects can be astounding!

My family is mostly grain free, too, and I'm dying to get the recipe for pizza with cauliflower crust! Post that soon, please!!

Kaye Syrah said...

Good for you. I'm looking forward to reading along as you live this out with your family.

Bondhustrun said...

Hey Lynn, I just wanted to say that your blog is a favorite sin of mine lately... While sitting at work with nothing to do, I tend to end up reading your blog, ever since I found it (just a month ago). I've been trying to cut down on the sugar, and so far with success, but when I feel I'm "done" I'm gonna try a LOT of recipes from your blog.

Until then - would you like to share your chicken piccata recipe, please?

Big thanks
from Bondhustrun (farmer's wife) in Sweden

grace said...

count me among the fans of eggplant parmesan and anything using coconut oil. :)

garlic focaccia said...

Its really good that you can upgrade to a nice recipe here...

WokandSpoon said...

Hey there. Grain and sugar free? Wow that sounds tough. I try to cut down on the sugar I use but not very successfully. Will definitely be looking here for inspiration!